Band – Go Go Buffalo
Album / Label – Live In Hell / Unsigned
Rating – 8 / 10
Pop quiz – what’s the craziest live local show you’ve ever attended? Sure, bigger acts might make their names with flamboyant and theatrical performances, but smaller bands playing on smaller stages usually have to work with what they’re given… and make a name with their music.
One of the wildest shows I ever attended from a local perspective was seeing Go Go Buffalo open up for The Skulx in 2017. Singer Jeremy Moore came on stage wearing a kimono, while guitarist Tyler Moore came out wearing only a thin pair of boxer briefs. Midway through the show, Jeremy threw a tattooed Amish doll, named “Mildred II” into the crowd. “Mildred II” can be seen on the cover of their newest album, Live In Hell.
It isn’t just the costumes that catch you with this band, however.
I’ve talked to dozens of people about their music, and no two can give me a straight answer for what the band actually sounds like. Is it punk? Psych-rock? Funk, blues, hardcore? You can call it what you want, but you can never call it boring.
As for Live In Hell, the band took to their home base at Urban Artifact in Cincinnati, to record a live, nine song, 35 minute assault on your earholes. It only made sense that the Queen City quarter would try to harness their energetic performance as it unfolded.
The album begins with Jeremy setting the table for you by saying, “Alright, I’m Ariana Bell Grande – this is Go Go Buffalo we write songs about newspaper clippings and asshole friends, and, uh… celebrities and shit. This first song is about how I killed Mac Miller.” The song predates the death of the Pittsburgh rapper, but the boys now firmly have your attention regardless of where you are (or were) when you heard it. Tyler’s guitar bounces up and down as Jeremy yells, “Don’t be afraid of the Bullskinned Bandit!” It’s a wonderfully fun song, and you can hear the crowd cheer as Tyler’s feedback dies down at the end.
In between the opening track and Last Night/Worth It, you will also hear someone in the crowd heckling Jeremy. He responds in turn by asking the man if he was making a fat joke. Of course you can’t see Moore, a beautifully hairy and husky man, but he plays along and kicks into a song that is half Randy Newman, half Go Go Buffalo. The mash-up actually works quite well, as drummer Jason Drennan smashes every inch of his kit. Clocking-in at over eight minutes, you can definitely let your imagination go wild during the musical interludes of the song. Whatever wacky shenanigans you might dream the three men in front are doing (The Moore brothers are joined by a bassist who the album liner notes identify as “The Chimp”), you are probably not too far off.
Jeremy announces that the next song is about “Trippin’ on acid, and doin’ stupid shit,” and sure enough the music actually sounds like a wacky acid trip. Lyrically, Livin’ It Up tells a story about a person’s morning routine, and there are moments where all three instruments shine in their own bizarre ways. Midway through, you hear an unfamiliar instrument as the group is joined by Cincinnati’s famous Sax Cat, Sasha Suskind, who also plays with our friends Common Center. There’s a blistering guitar solo at the end, which really highlights the fact that you are indeed listening to a live album.
Poison Patrol might be their best known tune, but midway through the song the band throws a curveball at you. Quite unexpectedly, Tyler starts strumming out the infamous opening riff from Dick Dale’s legendary surf hit “Misirlou,” complete with his brother doing the chants. Like I said, you just don’t know what to expect… but you are definitely entertained.
Up next is Chili’s, where Jeremy informs the crowd, “When I write songs they’re kind of cryptic…. This one’s for you to decipher.” I don’t want to ruin the surprise for you, but if you’ve ever actually eaten at Chili’s, then you might actually already know what the song is about. Uh oh. There’s another wonderfully juxtaposed bit of saxophone and guitar solo midway through the song, which again is perfectly captured in the live environment. You can record things in the studio 100 times, but they never really capture the exciting element that a live performance brings you.
After that comes State Of The Art, a song that Jeremy says is “about our ex-bass player, who is a piece of shit.” I won’t name him here, but I remember when the drama went down regarding their old four-stringer. I’m glad the remaining three members were able to overcome all of it and turn it into a frantic and exciting three minute track. In listening to this song, I can imagine the crowd moshing and head-banging excitedly.
No More, Ernest Hemmingway is the funkiest track in the band’s arsenal, and it wonderfully filters in a little more saxophone love. Drennan’s drums explode out of your speakers, as Jeremy sings about “the famous American author who ate too much and died.” Buckle up… the ride isn’t over just yet.
Daddy’s Home is a new tune about “our ex-roommate, who didn’t treat his dog very well, so we kicked him out and called him an asshole.” The song has a creepy vibe to it, and although the lyrics don’t explicitly say it, it’s possible that they didn’t just kick out the old roommate… they probably kicked his ass for fair measure, as well. It’s definitely the heaviest song of the set, perfectly crafted and tuned to thunder through your speakers and keep your head bobbing.
Mommy’s Home is another newer song that touches on abuse and chaos in the home. Jeremy tells us it’s about a newspaper clipping he saw (“yes, they still have those”) about a family, where the mother was treated so badly by her husband and kids that she finally snapped and killed them all. This one has a groovier feel to it, and makes you wonder how they could ever play it live without the saxophone.
The truth is, Go Go Buffalo is a band you HAVE to experience live. But, if you cannot make it to one of their many shows, this album is the next best thing. The fun-loving foursome did a fantastic job capturing their feverish sound, and one needs only to close their eyes, turn the volume up to 11 and simply imagine the riotous scene.
As far as live local albums go, this is about as good as you’re going to find out there, and perhaps they will make this their modus operandi going forward.
- Bullskin Bandit
- Last Night/Worth It
- Livin’ It Up
- Poison Patrol
- State Of The Art
- No More, Ernest Hemmingway
- Daddy’s Home
- Mommy’s Home
Go Go Buffalo – Livin’ It Up (from “Live in Hell”)